After coming off a hard-fought 5-4 loss against the Toronto Maple Leafs on Wednesday night, there was no way the Ottawa Senators were going to stop the Anaheim Ducks free-fall in the NHL standings on Thursday. In the second game of a back-to-back, away-and-home scenario, the last place Senators played one of their best games of the season. The end result was a 4-0 shutout for the home team at Canadian Tire Centre.
Brady Tkachuk opened the scoring with the eventual game-winner at 7:23 into the first. The Senators went on to score at least a goal per period. Matt Duchene tallied his first of the night off an incredible move from in close on Duck’s goalie John Gibson. Then, in the third period, Mark Stone notched his 23rd off a rocket wrist shot that found the net on the other side of Anaheim’s back-up Chad Johnson. In the final minute of play, Duchene scored again, capping the night off with an empty net goal.
“It was a real team effort, the guys were really engaged… getting the results certainly helps. You know, the last two games were a little frustrating because we felt we deserved better”, said Senators head coach Guy Boucher following the match.
The Senators finally found their 20th win of the season in this game, which improves their record to 20-29-5 and 45 points. Despite the win, Ottawa remains last in the NHL but they trail the New Jersey Devils by only three points. Meanwhile, the Ducks see their record drop to 21-25-9 and 51 points, as they rank 27th in the league.
Senators goalie Anders Nilsson was perfect in net as he stopped all 45 shots fired against him. The first star of the game earned his first shutout of the season, which was also his first as a Senator. The 28-year-old goaltender has five shut-outs throughout his NHL career.
Overall, Nilsson played well for the Senators in this game. He made some incredible saves off grade-A scoring chances for the Ducks, which roused the crowd to their feet on more than one occasion.
“I think coming in and getting a new opportunity, he’s definitely shown us he not only belongs but he performs at a high level. He’s given us some wins. Again tonight, he was very steady throughout the entire game“, observed Boucher.
It seems to become more apparent by the game that Nilsson could be making his case to stick around Ottawa beyond this year if he continues his strong, confident play in the Senators crease. The native of Sweden currently earns $2.5 million this season and is set to become an unrestricted free agent on Jul. 1.
After this win, Nilsson improves his record to 8-12-1 with a 2.73 goals against average and a .913 save percentage.
Quacking For Goals
Despite outshooting the Senators by 10, the Ducks offence continues to struggle in the goals department. Anaheim has only managed six goals in their last six games, which includes getting shut-out twice in that span.
In addition to their goal woes, the Ducks are also desperate for wins. Their last victory came against the New Jersey Devils on Jan. 19. More shockingly, Anaheim has only two wins over their last 20 games. Despite the recent return of Corey Perry, this team’s offence continues to be missing in action, as their drive to win fades away with their season fortunes.
Praise for Goloubef
Cody Goloubef drew into Ottawa’s line-up for the first time this season. In 13:20 of ice time, the 29-year-old defenseman had one shot, three hits, and a team-high of four blocked shots. This effort drew praise from Boucher following the game.
“No mistakes, no turnovers, didn’t get beat once, he did very well”, praised Boucher. “I had him before on Team Canada quite a few years back, he was much younger. He’s a good person, so I see the same thing here. He’s a smart player and that’s what he gave us tonight”.
The Canadian native was acquired by the Senators on Jan. 11 in a minor league trade with the Boston Bruins for forward Paul Carey. In nine games with Ottawa’s AHL affiliate in Belleville, Goloubef has six points (1G, 5A). On the season, he has 18 points (4G, 14A) in 25 games played, split between the B-Sens and Providence.
Following Duchene’s first goal of the night at 18:08 of the second period, it appeared as though Gibson was rattled by a heavy collision with his teammate, Jaycob Megna. The 26-year-old Ducks defenseman was attempting to back check the speedy Senator’s drive towards the net when he missed and plowed over his goalie instead.
Although Gibson stayed in the crease to finish the frame, it was Johnson who was in net as his replacement to start the third. It appears the hard times may continue to get harder for the Ducks, as they await news on their starting goaltender’s injury status.
It was also DIFD (Do It For Daron) Night at Canadian Tire Centre. The occasion honours the memory of Daron Richardson, who was the daughter of former Senator Luke Richardson and his wife, Stephanie. Daron tragically took her own life in 2010.
DIFD Night gives players and hockey teams the opportunity to raise awareness, breakdown stigmas, and build support for youth mental health initiatives. The Ottawa Senators Foundation raised funds for this cause through the sales of purple t-shirts, hoodies, winter toques, mini sticks, and other items. A video compiling various NHL players with the DIFD message also played on the big screen, while Stephanie and Brianna, a mental health champion from the Youth Services Bureau, dropped the puck for the pre-game ceremonial face-off.
Official 3 Stars of the Game
- Anders Nilsson, Ottawa
- Matt Duchene, Ottawa
- Mark Stone, Ottawa
The Senators play the second of their three-game home stand this Saturday as they welcome the Winnipeg Jets to Canadian Tire Centre. The Jets are ranked first in the Central Division and third in the NHL with a record of 34-16-3 and 71 points. This will be the first meeting between these two hockey clubs this season.
|Brady Tkachuk (12)||Mark Stone (31)
Colin White (16)
|Matt Duchene (23)||Chris Tierney (28)
Thomas Chabot (30)
|Matt Stone (23)||Chris Tierney (29)
Cody Ceci (11)
|Matt Duchene (24)||Cody Ceci (12)|
Cover Photo Credit: Sean Kilpatrick / The Canadian Press
Billy Morrison covers the Ottawa Senators and the Atlantic Division for Full Press Coverage. Follow Billy on Twitter, @BillyMorrison01.